I can’t help but wonder if in the olden days, tales of wonder and awe that spread through the tongues of villagers would somehow be dubbed as fake news today. I’m so glad that the fake news of the past centuries (AKA folk tales) still stands today though, simply because it’s harmless while capturing the imagination and awe of magical creatures like this Scottish Kelpie by JakTheMad. The shoulders and thighs and tail structure are accentuated by parts from buildable figures quite appropriately. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a horse rearing pose, although it requires some mad skills for balancing the centre of gravity with such a build.
This elegant LEGO dragon by builder Mitch Phillips is inspired by the red dragons from East Asian mythology that are said to bring good luck and happiness. I think it’s working, as this build makes me happy indeed. I love the elegant curves and the fact that many of the dragon’s scales are made from minifigure flippers. The red fins are complemented by orange Technic teeth as a different texture of scaling. Blue colors in the robot arms fingers and large fins mirror the crown of three-leaf plates in the head.
A closer look at that head reveals the intricate build in the eyes–highlighted by the use of the “One Ring” from the Lord of the Rings theme to add a touch of chromed bling. This dragon is fierce, but also a thing of beauty.
The annual BioCup competition is producing a wonderful range of LEGO Bionicle creations in many themes, but my favorite so far is Latin American mythology, with fantastical gods like the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli by Tino Poutiainen. But my favorite so far is the Aztec rain god Tlāloc by Vlad Lisin. Tlāloc has characteristic round eyes and fangs, and wears a verdant crown with clouds encircling his waist. I love how Vlad uses click-joints for Tlāloc’s necklace, and the Bionicle mask at the top of the water flowing from the barrel is a brilliant use of parts.
Way back in 2006, I built the Aztec pantheon as minifigures — strange enough to go mildly viral through the “blogosphere” in the era before social media — but these latest figures show the power of large-scale builds using organic pieces from Bionicle and Hero Factory.
Can someone help me with a tech question? How do I set the parental controls so that my parents can’t watch Fox News? While The Brothers Brick IT team and I are working that out, I’d like to show you a fox of a different kind. This Kyuubi no Kitsune (Nine-tailed Fox) built by Jessica Farrell is a well-known character in Japanese folklore. Jessica tells us that this magical creature lives for an incredibly long time and grows a new tail for each century of spiritual training and wisdom. Upon gaining its ninth tail, the Kitsune has reached its full powers and its tails may begin to turn golden or white in color. Its natural form is that of an ordinary fox but the powerful Kitsune is able to shape-shift into other forms, particularly that of a beautiful young woman, and get up to all sorts of mischief!
She also tells us that this model is comprised of 4,304 elements and took three weeks to design and build. I am particularly fond of the intricate textured stones and the flowing brook. The entire setting instills a tranquil feeling for me and the Kitsune’s expression exudes wisdom. Now that is a Fox network I would watch!
In Greek mythology, Apollo is a somewhat complicated figure, so it seems only fitting that he’s the subject matter of Jason Allemann’s latest kinetic sculpture. Building upon his previous galloping horse, he’s expanded the moving parts in this creation to include the horse’s legs, bodies, necks, heads and tails, as well as the chariot body and wheels and Apollo himself. He’s done such a good job making the overall movement look natural, it can be hard to pick out what parts are actually moving independently of each other. It all just flows together quite well.
Like everything Jason designs, the mechanics behind it all are quite clever, but even without the movement, this would still be a well-designed static model. I really like the way he’s sculpted the head and face, using a simply gap between pieces to represent the eyes and brow. Also pleasing are the choices of gold elements to adorn the chariot, giving it that ancient and regal look. The relatively new 22 long hose with connector ends is an especially smart choice for the reins. Watch the video he made and take a moment to be mesmerized by the model’s motion and hear about all about the mechanics from Jason himself.
In order to fully appreciate this next creation, we’re going to have to define a couple of terms. The first is chibi. That’s a Japanese slang term that describes an art style where characters are drawn as small, chubby figures with exaggerated features. The second is Sisyphus. In Greek mythology, he was a king who was punished by the gods for his wicked ways. He is forced to push a giant boulder up an even bigger hill, only to have it roll back down every time it nears the top. At first glance, these two terms don’t seem to have a lot do to with each other. Leave it to Sheo to unify them into a really cute image of eternal torture. In this version, Sisyphus doesn’t have a boulder to push; instead, his over-sized chibi head is the enormous weight that has to be moved upwards.
Creative use of various arches and curved slopes creates an anguished, yet adorable, visage. The use of a curved brick for the leg gives a great sense of that upward pushing. I also like the detail of the 2×2 round tile for his belly, and let’s not ignore the build of the mountain either. The rocks are built out in all directions, with a combination of slopes, plates, and tiles giving some lively texture to the backdrop.
Builder Cindy Su invites us to find out more about Chinese myths with this wonderful little figural model of Zhongli Quan. Chinese mythology is rife with humans turned immortal, but perhaps the most famous among these is The 8 Immortals. Dating back to the Jin dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries, the 8 mystical figures are part of the Taoist pantheon. They have been a subject of Chinese art and mythologies for centuries and are still popular today.
The subject of this particular build is Zhongli Quan. He is pictured here carrying his traditional large fan, imbued with the power to turn rocks into precious gold or silver and even resurrect the dead. The sculpting of his body shows off his rotund shape and the use of satellite dishes is perfect for his exposed chest and belly. His hairstyle, utilizing round balls gives the whole thing some wonderful shapes and texture. The hot dog buns as his ears is a particularly clever use of parts.
On her Flickr page, Cindy notes this figure as 1 of 8. I look forward to seeing her depictions of the other 7 immortals and their journey across the East Sea.
If you want to get the god of the underworld to do you a favor, you had best rosin up your bow and get ready to fiddle for your soul. Oh wait, wrong story. Music is still the key, though, and I’d wager a fiddle made of gold that the Ancient Greek hero Orpheus could even beat Johnny from Georgia; at very least he played his lyre so beautifully that it moved the cold heart of Hades to compassion, granting him his desire to take the shade of his beloved wife Eurydice back to the surface (with some provisos, admittedly). Simon NH has built the scene of the hero before the god, and it captures the feeling of the underworld perfectly.
The god is fittingly large in relation to the mortal, and his face is cold and foreboding. His crown is made from sais is nice and spiky, and chains hanging everywhere give it all the feel of a dungeon. My favorite bits are the green flames made from jagged-edged swords, just for the splash of color it gives to an otherwise dreary-toned build. But what really sets this build apart is the dramatic lighting. Everything is in shadows except the figures and the bit of path separating them, setting the stage for the dramatic performance of Orpheus. Despite being, in my mind, the Hawkeye of the Greek heroes (Jason: “What’s your superpower?” Orpheus: “I play the lyre.”), Orpheus ends up being one of the most impressive of them all.
Recently I wrote an article that mentioned there are a few names that spring to mind when considering LEGO-built characters. Another one of these prolific builders is Anthony Wilson. His newest creation is Aquasaurus, an impeccable display of form and function working so well together, that it hurts my head.
His incredible use of colour is always refreshing to see. This build harks back to the colour palate exclusively used for the Arctic City and Town sets, which I have always enjoyed. Relatedly, one thing that separates this from the pack, are those excellent gill fins, set in the ever-elusive teal. Though not made of many pieces in this elegant creature, the contrast it creates is brilliant. In a creation of such scale, articulation can also be a challenge to hide and keep functional. Wilsons subtle use of colour specific Bionicle parts, achieves this flawlessly, giving the limbs of this creature an exceptional pose. I find myself wondering how much this beast would weigh, as his use of balance on that black pillar is great, leaving only a tiny footprint of a base below.
For another look at Anthony Wilson’s beautiful use of colour, check out his Western Woods.
In Japanese mythology, the giant catfish Namazu lives in the mud under the islands of Japan. When this creature thrashes, violent earthquakes result. Not a good thing, but that hasn’t stopped Japan from embracing Namazu as a mascot of sorts for earthquakes. Catfish are a common image on earthquake-related signs, and even appear on the Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) logo. And, as you might expect from a monster-turned-mascot, sometimes those catfish images are just adorable. Case in point: [Jack Frost] has built a LEGO version of Namazu that will melt your heart, even as it shakes your world.
There are a lot of fun aspects to this build. Although a couple of studs can be spotted, the majority of the body is sculpted in smooth black elements including Hero Factory armor. Meanwhile, the flame colors in the Legend of Chima energy effects used as fins invoke the destructive aspects of earthquakes. But the large and expressive eyes and charming smile somehow try and make that seem like not a big deal.
Somehow, though, I think we should probably just be terrified.
The 2019 Bionicle-building challenge Biocup is on and LEGO Bionicle enthusiast chubbybots has jumped into the ring swinging. The first round’s theme is scary monsters, which I definitely think this wendigo fits into. Intimidation and furious brutality are the words that spring to mind. The Hero Factory Hand Armor as the top of its head was an excellent choice that brings those stark white teeth to the foreground on that monstrous underbite. Those rubber tyres on the arms and ankles remind me of the tufts of hair on a minotaur. I wonder it played some role as a muse while chubbybots started to piece this guy together? My favourite piece use on this terrifying vision would have to be a tie between the four eyes made from small red lever bases and the shadow trap, creating what looks like the end of a gnarly set of gauntlets.
Be sure to stop by and check out some of the other contenders in this year’s Biocup!
There are no limits when it comes to the fantastical creations that can be created from the wide range of LEGO elements. A recent favourite of mine is Jayfa’s model of Rygas the Basilisk. The colour palette is visually striking, and the part selection is outstanding. While it might seem obvious to use a 4×7 wing piece on a bird, it’s rather ingenious to use it as the side of the belly rather that actually on the wing! When it comes to plumage being recreated, other techniques include the connection of a dinosaur tail piece to a small horn and the cacophonic positioning of Hero Factory flame elements.
However, my absolute favourite aspect of this creation is its posture, especially the feet. Not satisfied to duplicate a single design of a foot, Jayfa has designed two separate positions for the feet in a way that really brings the beast to life. It’s not just standing there, but what is it doing? Is it dancing or ready to pounce? Couple that with the look on its face, and I think anyone challenging this monster is in for a bad time.